Syndicated Rookies on the Rise

Rookie strips got their game on in the week ending Oct. 3, with three out of four improving their Nielsen Media Research ratings performance from the prior week.

This season’s top newcomer, Paramount’s The Insider, was up 4% to a 2.4, outrating Warner Bros.’ veteran news magazine, Extra! (with a 2.2) for the second time in the show’s three weeks on the air.

Insider also increased its key demos, up 14% and 18%, respectively, in men and women 18-49. In the metered markets, Insider averaged its highest ratings yet, a 3.0 rating/6 share on Columbus Day.

In third place, Buena Vista’s Tony Danza Show was up 9% to a 1.2, winning its time periods in three of the top four markets, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, while finishing second in its middle-of-the-night clearance in the other on KABC Los Angeles. 

In fourth place, NBC Universal’s Home Delivery was up 22% to a 1.1, a personal best. NBC Universal’s Jane Pauley Show, meanwhile, was down 7% to a 1.4 after being downgraded in Dallas and Nashville. Twentieth’s Ambush Makeover was down 9% to a 1.0, Warner Bros.’ The Larry Elder Show was unchanged at a 0.8, followed by Sony’s Pat Croce, which fell 14% to a 0.6, and Sony’s Life & Style, unchanged at a 0.5.

Also new in first-run, The Insider Weekend was up 31% to a 2.1, fueled by 56% and 60% increases in women 18-49 and women 25-54 in its second week on the chart.

King World’s off-net weekly CSI dipped 2% to a still-powerful 4.7 in its third week.

Among the new off-net strips, Twentieth’s Malcolm in the Middle in week three was up 7% to a 3.0, NBC Universal’s Fear Factor was flat at a 1.6 in week two, Paramount’s Girlfriends was unchanged at a 1.5, and Twentieth’s Yes Dear was up 7% to a 1.5.

In veteran talk-show action, singer/actress Cher's interview on King World’s Dr. Phil was a bigger draw than President Bush and the First Lady.

More people watched Dr. Phil’s interview with Cher (actually conducted by Dr. Phil's wife, Robin) on Monday, Sept. 27, drawing 9.05 million viewers, than tuned in to Dr. Phil and Robin's interview with the President and Mrs. Bush on Wednesday, Sept. 29, pulling 8.41 million viewers.

In terms of average ratings, Dr. Phil dipped 2% to a 5.0, finishing second to King World’s talk leader, The Oprah Winfrey Show, unchanged at a 7.3. Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly was up 3% to a 3.3 in third place. NBC Universal’s Maury gained 4% to a 2.7. Paramount’s Montel Williams was up 5% to a 2.3. NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer was up 6% to a 1.9.

Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show was unchanged at a 1.8, although it had the strongest year-to-year growth of any talker, gaining 38%. NBC Universal’s Starting Over was unchanged at a 1.1, while Twentieth’s Good Day Live remained stuck at a 0.8.

Elsewhere in daytime, the top courtroom shows continued to trend higher. Paramount’s Judge Judy, the chief court-show jurist, was up 5% to 4.5, gaining 17% and 10%, respectively, in men and women 18-49. Judy’s colleague, Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown, had the biggest increase among court shows, gaining 14% to a 3.2. Twentieth’s Divorce Court was up 9% to a 2.5, regaining third place from Warner Bros.’ People’s Court, which was flat at a 2.4.

Among game shows, King World’s Jeopardy! was in its second week without all-time champ Ken Jennings, who was sidelined while the show ran its annual Tournament of Champions. Jennings’ absence took the show down another 3% to a 6.9 after sliding 16% the prior week. But Jennings returned Oct. 4, resuming his winning ways.

Top gamer King World’s Wheel of Fortune was essentially unchanged at a 8.2. Compared to last year at this time, Wheel is down 9%.

Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be Millionaire, the number-three game show, was up 7% to a 3.2. Tribune’s Family Feud was unchanged at a 1.9. Warner Bros.’ Street Smarts, with its fifth-season premiere, was up 13% to a 0.9.

NBC Universal’s Blind Date was the highest-rated relationship show in syndication, kicking off its sixth season with a 1.1. Warner Bros.’ Elimi-Date, in its third week of its new season, was down 18% to a 0.9. 

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.